Understanding The Payout Matrix

If you are thinking of handicapping a horse race (that is betting and trying to predict a win scenario), then you should know something about the odds and payouts. You should know how it works and some terminology involved in the calculations.

First of all, every track has something called a tote-board. A tote-board is essentially a matrix-like chart that lists the payout for specific odds in dollars and cents and also lists the percentage of the betting pool that is devoted to a specific odd-ratio.

The betting pool is the collection of money on any one specific bet. And each bet has an associated odds-ratio, something like 2:1 or 4:5. Here is the kicker, in today’s horse race betting world those odds and percentages change, right up until right before the race starts. Some bettors and punters refuse to place their bet until they see the final odds listing on the tote-board, that is at the last second.

Today’s betting system was developed in Paris, France and is called parimutual odds. This simply means that the size of the betting pool affects your payout and the odds themselves. In this system the racetrack always gets a profit because they take a percentage of the pool no matter what the odds are or who wins.

Reading the chart is a simple left-to-right process. The first column lists the racing odds. You find the odds of your bet, the horse track lists the odds each horse has to win, and then move over to the right to see the percentage of the betting pool those odds take up. Move over to the right once more to see what your payout is.

Churchill Downs Matrix

The Churchill Downs track, home of the Kentucky Derby, has a set of bets called the Matrix. This is different from references to the matrix structure of the tote-board. A matrix bet at Churchill involves you listing your minimum bet, saying the word “matrix” at the betting box and picking three horses. These three horses will automatically be used to bet in multiple win scenarios in on straight bet to win, and two exotic bets, the exacta and the trifecta.

A straight bet to win means that one of the three horses will cross the finish line as the winner. An exotic exacta bet means that two of your three horses comes in first or second, in any order, and an exotic trifecta bet means that your three horses come in first (win), second (show), or third (place) in any order. The matrix at Churchill effectively places 15 separate bets at once. 3 bets for the straight win, 6 bets for the possible exacta outcomes and 6 bets for the possible trifecta outcomes.

When it comes to understanding your payout, you should know that the bigger the betting pool for a set of odds, the lower the payout is going to be. In other words, the more popular a horse bet happens to be, the bigger the race tracks take, and the less each bettor and punter will get; does not seem fair, right? However, that is the state of things at the track today and it does not mean you can’t get a big pay-off if you are willing to take a bigger risk and go rogue with your horse bets; in addition, remember that online racebooks do charge less in fees and give out more in comps and bonuses given they hve less employees to pay-out, hence, this is a great alternative for you to consider, and which we have listed some of the best online racebooks for you here – happy betting!